LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A startling new social media trend is making its way to Las Vegas area schools.
It is called "Devious Licks" and the Clark County School District is sending a warning to parents.
“I feel there’s so much peer pressure with social media and TikTok and Instagram now, that kids feel they have to show off and do certain things,” said Jennifer Belcastro, the parent of a middle schooler.
Videos that have now been taken down by TikTok show students allegedly stealing everything from bathroom sinks to fire extinguishers from schools have been popping up around the nation. And it is even happening here in the valley.
A statement from TikTok reads:
"We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities. We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior."
“He said yeah, it’s going on in his school, too,” said Belcastro. “And that some of the kids are doing it just for fun and getting suspended for it.”
A letter to parents from Cram Middle School’s assistant principal, Jennifer Ritter, says in part:
“Upon investigation, we have learned that some students are being encouraged to do this via social media, calling ‘devious lick’ to gain ‘clout’ or followers. We are concerned about this behavior and ask that our community talk to our students about this.”
“Just from my own observations, it seems to be young adults who start the challenges,” said Emily Halverson, a marriage and family therapist state intern. “A lot of social media influencers are in their early 20s. So, if you think about it, maybe they’re not fully at that logic and reasoning stage, either. In a way, they’re like children themselves.”
Halverson says the pre-frontal cortex is the last part of the brain to develop, and the child likely is not fully matured or in complete control of their emotions as teenagers.
“If we’re really sad and we’re going on it, it might make us more lonely,” she said. “It might make us feel isolated. But for a lot of teens, it’s also a great way to be connected with friends. And especially during COVID, I think it’s hard to take that away from them because for a lot of people it’s the only way that they are connected—but everything in moderation.”
It is just another example of thinking before you act.
“I think everyone’s so involved in social media now that I think everyone needs to take a step back and be like old-school ways a little bit,” said Belcastro.